Healthcare professionals are expected to be up to date on the latest information and treatments of disease. This can be difficult at times due to the rarity of the disease and lack of a cure. Huntington disease falls into this category, as it is rare and can be treated with supportive measures only. In the U.S. it is said that 1 in 10,000 individuals are affected with Huntington disease as of the year 2000 (Cummins, Eggert, Pruitt & Collins, 2011). Nurses will be directly involved with treating the patient as well as supporting the family through the progression of the disease. Learning about the disease process is crucial to treating the patient holistically for physical, mental, and social issues.
Huntington disease is an inherited neurodegenerative disorder that affects the central nervous system in both men and women . Most people are diagnosed between the ages of 30-50 but there have been instances where onset begins as early as age 2. The clinical signs and symptoms in Huntington disease start subtly and progress in severity with a natural course lasting 15-20 years from diagnosis to death (Skirton, 2005). The early symptoms of Huntington disease include, “agitation, apathy, anxiety, euphoria, delusions, abnormal eye movement and depression (Cummins, Eggert, Pruitt & Collins, 2011).” Gait issues can also be a problem during this stage which progresses in the middle stage of Huntington disease. The middle stage includes symptoms such as, “dystonia, involuntary movements (chorea), poor coordination, slow voluntary movements, generalized weakness, and speech difficulty (Cummins, Eggert, Pruitt & Collins, 2011).” The chorea eventually decreases and the patient becomes more rigid and spastic. At this point in the disease process, the patient will need supportive care to complete their activities of daily living. Most people affected with Huntington disease will be placed into long term care by the late stage of... [continues]
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(2012, 04). Huntington Disease. StudyMode.com. Retrieved 04, 2012, from http://www.studymode.com/essays/Huntington-Disease-982863.html
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